From beef or turkey to buffalo or veggie patties, burgers come in all shapes and sizes. And depending on who you ask, you are going to get a different answer for what makes the best burger. Now Northern Virginians can have their voices heard and vote for their favorite burger in the region with Northern Virginia Magazine’s Battle of the Burgers.
The inaugural bracket includes 32 local restaurants that serve some of the best burgers in Northern Virginia. The first round of voting, which will select the top 16, will run through Wednesday, Sept. 30.
To help curate the list of restaurants on our bracket, we asked Paul Tomaselli of DC Food Persuasion, and a moderator of the Northern Virginia Foodies Facebook group, to help make the selections. Known as the Burger King and having eaten almost 1,000 burgers in the last four years, he has excellent knowledge of the burger scene in Northern Virginia.
We asked Tomaselli to share his selection process for the bracket, food background and his love for burgers.
How did you become a burger fanatic?
Well I’ve eaten burgers my whole life, but it was when I first got my car when I was 16 and got my first job, that I started taking certain foods to a whole other level. Those foods were burgers, steak and cheese subs, and Peruvian chicken. I was already into them, but I just took it to a whole other level and made it my job, although it is just a hobby to find the best ones in the area.
The reason burgers stood out as a food I wanted to venture out for was because I realized that you can make anything into a burger and in doing that, there were thousands and thousands of different ways that a burger could be created, and I wanted to try them all. So I made it upon myself to order one when I hit up any restaurant in the DMV. Now the issue today that I have encountered, is that I have tried 99% of them, so I need to tell the chef to make me something off menu, or something new. I always love to try new burgers.
You are a part of the Northern Virginia Foodie Facebook page, do you have any other background in food?
I actually started food blogging on Instagram under @dcfoodpersuasion. It is just a food blog where I showcase what places and foods I try in the area. I post more videos on that blog than what I post on Facebook. And because of COVID-19, I got into cooking again which is great, and post content on there also. But honestly, my heart is still in dining out. I just love to support local businesses and love eating out.
What was your reaction when you heard Northern Virginia Magazine was running its first Battle of the Burgers?
I thought that was a great fantastic idea, and was really hyped about it. I just hope we get the right restaurants in the Final Four and not see someone who is not as deserving in that final four just because they were able to get their friends and family to vote for them. So I am hoping for a fair vote and that the winner of each round actually has a better burger than their opponent.
How did you come up with the 32 restaurants on the list?
I looked at the burger offerings, if you offer multiple burgers that was a plus, being a mom and pop burger restaurant. These spots I have a first hand account of their burgers, some I go back to regularly and others, I have experienced it once or twice. I always hope that places stay consistent, so if I haven’t experienced a place in a few months, I make it my job to go back and make sure it is still consistent. A lot of the places listed are very consistent in bringing the customer a great burger.
I also like to hear from friends and foodies who go to places and that is another way, it helped me come up with this list. Like, there are a couple burgers places in the list which I think are decent; but every time a burger thread on Facebook pops up, people list them, so I keep an eye out and just listen to my fellow foodies as well.
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